8th or 9th grade lesson idea

Overview the lesson

There are 20 students of this class is 3rd grade of middle school students and their proficiency level varies depending on the students however the average proficiency level is speaking, reading intermediate high, listening intermediate mid, writing novice high. The class is designed for the students those who want to learn English more effectively and there are students those who hope to study overseas to advance their English proficiency. Students meet once a week for 2 hours and the course last for 6 months. As most students have been to the English institutes and learned English from native speakers they are quite fluent in English however they are much more accustomed to classes based on the grammars, translating and memorizing the vocabulary words or repeating the drills therefore students are anxious to have some more fun in the class by doing lots of exciting activities and games. Also they hardly have any experience in other cultures except the inner circle cultures and their own culture. Therefore the class is also designed to trigger the students’ interest and fun to the variety of cultural differences as well as improving their English skills.

Theoretical Justification Activity

The “Neurological Framework” explains the relationship between the brain and the Critical Period Hypothesis. It suggests there is a process called “lateralization” which is a process assigning functions to the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The right hemisphere controls functions like the visualization, emotion, sociability, creativity and imagination and so on and those are the functions that helps people to learn the language much more effectively because by using the right hemisphere, language could be learned much more meaningfully and even some functions like sociability tells that the right hemisphere functions meet the reason for using the language itself.

I tried to design my own lesson plan to be more communicative and student centered by doing pair and group activities. Students will be in groups of 5 and each group will have one statement in a tone of a black and white view. Each student will pick 4 kinds of cards in turns and the student who has a “king” he or she will challenge the statement with his or her own idea, and the one with the “queen” will try to disagree with his or her group member and the person with the “jack” will agree with a student in his or her own group. The “7” will make a student summarize their own group members’ idea and the one with an “Ace” will have to paraphrase the groups’ idea. After 15 minutes of discussion, every group will share their own groups’ idea to the whole class and there will be a lot open, deeper discussion. Paraphrasing and summarizing, discussions with lots of open and personalize questions could be great way to make students practice their English and in the same time it will be a good way to use the right hemisphere.

According to Krashen, it is best to lower the student’s anxiety, in other words the affective filter, because this way, students will feel more comfortable and confident to perform English. However Swain disagreed with Krashen and explained anxiety could be regarded differently as the good anxiety, facilitative anxiety, and the bad anxiety, debilitative anxiety. Swain suggested that the facilitative anxiety could stimulate students to hold their learning motivation longer and that would help students to practice and improve English proficiency. According to my lesson plan, I think the main activity itself is triggers the students’ schemata and their motivation because the statements will be quite interesting to think about and playing cards will be fun. Also, every student will be talking without exception and they will have more freedom and feel less anxious and that is because they will be mostly talking in groups.

According to Krashen, students establish competence by comprehending input based on the “i+1 theory.” If the “i” stands for the input at the current level of competence, the “1” means the input slightly beyond the learner’s current level of competence. Therefore Krashen suggest that the best way for students to get input is to obtain input slightly higher than their own competence level and he also suggests the roughly-tuned method as the best-focusing on meaningful messages at the right level so that the learners can understand the language and this would lead to the acquisition automatically. If Krashen believes teachers should mostly concern on the “fluency” but, Swain suggests “accuracy and fluency” should be concerned equally important through his “Output Hypothesis.” Output hypothesis focuses on the “noticing gap” and the “leading edge” which means the lesson should be designed and the teachers should help students to realize what they don’t know and make those unstable, new forms internalized as their competence.

The language and the context should be slightly difficult for students and the whole discussion activity could be a challenge to some students. However, by encouraging the students to speak out and active in the discussion I think the students will have more chance to discover their lack of language. When students share their ideas in the whole class, I think this could be a good time for teachers to give feedback to students and reprocess their “leading edge.”


I really think I had learned many usefully things during the SMU-TESOL and I think the theories which I learned in the SLA course will be really useful to me when I will teach my future students because I will be able to examine the students’ level more specifically and what will be the right thing to teach in the right time. I think there are two important things for teachers to remember and that is patient and creative thinking. Being patient could be difficult for time to time and creative thinking could be a big task for teachers because although there are lots of great referential materials still it would be their job to find and develop their own teaching know-how.

Submitted by Ann




with a deck of cards


of the activity 

Time needed: 45 minutes

As the instruction,

student will play cards to act their parts and they will discuss in

their groups and share with the whole class about certain ideas of other

countries. Students will eventually realize their own way of thinking

about the cultural differences.



-Students will be able to

form an “effect and cause” sentence such as “I agree with the

statement because~” or “I disagree the statement because~.”

-The students

will practice forming the present tense sentences.

-Students will

practice how to paraphrase and summarize other people’s words.





-Students will realize that

they have their own point of view in seeing the world.

-Students will be able to see

how they think of certain countries and will gradually understand there

are no “good” or “bad”, “better” or “worst” cultures,

but all humans are equal and the same in the name of God.



(with sample

materials attached below) 

-A deck of cards:

4 Kings, 4 Queens, 4 Jacks, 2 number 7 and 2 Jokers.



  1. Divide the students

    into groups of 5.

  2. The teachers should

    give 5 minutes for the following instruction: Each group will have 5

    cards and the cards should be facing down so that the students would

    not see the front of the cards.

  3. One student of each

    group should shuffle the card and put it facing down.

  4. Each student will

    pick a card by turns.

  5. After 5 minutes

    the teachers should make the students face to the front and listen the

    teachers’ instruction for the cards.

  6. Every group will

    have a statement that has an certain perception of a culture or a country.

  7. Each card has a

    particular function and that is the following: the King means “challenge

    to speak freely about what he or she thinks about the statement” and

    the Queen means “must disagree with another student’s idea, the

    Jack must “agree with another student’s idea” and the Ace must

    “paraphrase a student’s idea.” The student who has number 7 could

    ask for help to another student to help him or her to summarize other

    student’s statement. There could be a student how has a Joker and

    that student will have an opportunity to change the statement from other

    groups as she or he likes.

  8. After the discussion

    the teachers will give 5 minutes for each group to summarize the statements

    what they have said.

  9. The teachers will

    make one students from each group to read what they have summarized

    in turns.

  10. The teachers could

    lead a discussion about how they think about what other groups have



notes for teacher 

The teachers should ask students

whether they know the meaning of “paraphrase” or “summarize.”

And the teachers should check the students’ comprehension whether

they understand the whole instruction properly.

The teachers

should teach phrases like “no cheating”, “shuffle the cards”,

“pick up a card”, “place the cards facing down” etc.


and references


Niki Mantas nmantas@whatcom.ctc.edu Whatcom Community College, Bellingham,


Filed Under: Teaching methodology

About the Author

Comments are closed.